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Good Vibrations?

Facebook is working on a technique that allows people to feel smartphone notifications through their skin when they are unable to access their device.  According to a paper published by the social media giant’s research team, in-house scientists are working on a sleeve-like prototype that translates words into vibrations delivered by pads onto the arm. The wearable device could be useful in situations when a person is unable to check their smartphone, such as during a meeting or while in class. Undoubtedly that will make for some interesting changes to a school’s smartphone user policies!

Critics Target Facebook’s Messenger Kids App

In an open letter to Mark Zuckerberg, a coalition of children's health and education organizations individuals have called on Facebook to shut down Messenger Kids on behalf of the well being of children. Messenger Kids is the parent-monitored chat, photo, and video messaging service Facebook launched in December 2017 for children as young as six years old. The minimum age for regular Facebook users is 13.

 

This letter was published by the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood and signed by a host of other organizations. It argues that introducing children to social media at an earlier age will increase their dependence on digital devices, negatively affect their mental health, and impact their ability to form relationships. "Younger children are simply not ready to have social media accounts," the group wrote. "A growing body of research demonstrates that excessive use of digital devices and social media is harmful to children and teens, making it very likely this new app will undermine children’s healthy development."

Should Facebook Be More Like Instagram?

Facebook is trying very hard to fix itself by dealing with the proliferation of fake news on site and doing what it can to keep the trolls at bay. But what if Facebook just needs to be more like Instagram? That’s the premise of a recent article in The New York Times entitled What if a Healthier Facebook Is Just … Instagram?.

It is an interesting idea. Instagram, while having some issues, has not been overrun by misinformation, hasn’t been as exploited to the same degree and, (this is a good reminder to the older generation) is vastly preferred to Facebook by younger users. It is a simpler cleaner interface with no external links and no ways to “reshare” others posts. Is this the wave of the future? Less is more?

Facebook Offers New Suicide Prevention Tools

After three teens took their own lives on Facebook Live, the company has declared they will be taking steps to combat suicide. In a post on the social network, Facebook announced it will be launching new suicide prevention tools for its Facebook Live feature to make it easier for friends of users to contact them or to get help. The changes were developed with the assistance of several mental health organizations, including Save.org, National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, Forefront and Crisis Text Line. Suicide is the second leading cause of death for young people ages 15 to 29.

How to Upgrade Your Social Media Presence

Are you or a member of your family looking for a job? It may be time to upgrade your social media presence. According to the article from FastCompany.com, start by separating your personal accounts from any business or school affiliated presence. Keep in mind damage control may be in order. Google yourself and see what comes up. If there are bad posts you can’t remove, create more recent positive posts. Social media should be viewed as a way to separate you from other job seekers with similar talents and skills.

Can Social Media Change People’s Minds?

Reading through posts and comments on social networks such as Facebook and Twitter can make it easy to convince yourself that social media is just a giant echo chamber where users with specific political views talk to each other and different viewpoints are ignored. That may not always be the case. According to a recent study by the Pew Research Center, being exposed to differing views via social media can sometimes cause people to rethink how they view a political issue. The Pew study found that 20% of those surveyed reported that their stance on a social or political issue was changed because of something they saw on social media, and 17% said that social media had changed their views about a specific candidate.

College Advisors Suggest College Applicants Create a Linked In Profile

Many college advisers are suggesting that applicants create elaborate LinkedIn profiles to submit with their college applications. The thinking is that it adds polish to the list of activities and accomplishments submitted to admission boards. For high school students, going this route is partly a defense mechanism against college admissions officers who snoop on applicants’ public Facebook and Twitter activities — without disclosing how that may affect an applicant’s chance of acceptance. A recent study from Kaplan Test Prep of about 400 college admissions officers reported that 40 percent said they had visited applicants’ social media pages, a fourfold increase since 2008. Some students, though, point out that college admissions people will not get to know them on a more personal basis viewing only these “sanitized” postings.

Twitter – Will Abuse Be Its Downfall?

Twitter has been a pioneer in real-time social media, allowing first responders to tweet about severe weather warnings such as movements of tornados and hurricanes and, in the past, even giving the world a play-by-play version of the raid on Osama Bin Laden. But Twitter is in trouble, recently announcing it will cut 9% of its global workforce. While Twitter has been at the forefront of social media, the company has struggled to reign in increasing abuse on the service. 

The barrage of online harassment is one reason the company has fallen flat with several buyers, according to reports. Rumors have circulated that Disney may buy the company, but previously the organization declined to pursue Twitter because of the platform's well-publicized issues with trolls, such as the case with Milo Yiannopolous, who harass users.

 

Cleaning Up Instagram Comments

Instagram has decided to let users block comments that contain objectionable language from appearing on their posts. If someone (or some bot) adds a comment containing a keyword you have decided to block, the post will be automatically hidden from your feed, even though it may still be included in the comment count under the photo. Take a look at How to Clean Up Instagram Comments for advice on how to set up filters for your feed.

Facebook Changes News Feed

Facebook recently announced an update to its news feed algorithm that will more favorably promote content posted by the friends and family of users. Those changes, the company says, will limit content posted by publishers, resulting in significantly less traffic to the hundreds of news media sites that have come to rely on Facebook. The change comes in the wake of criticism that news featured on the site has a liberal bent, and is accompanied by Facebook’s publication of a set of family friendly “values” which reiterates that content posted by friends and family is the top priority.

And They Get Their News From Facebook

A recent report by the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism reveals that social media is more popular than television with people ages 18 to 24. Social media is also the leading source of news for this age group, with more than half of online users getting news from sites such as Facebook. It is interesting to note however, that although this group prefers getting their news online, they are still highly distrustful of the accuracy of information found through social media.

The Conformity Fostered By Facebook

The Facebook Effect – the tendency to spend more time with people who think like you and less with people who are different – isn’t trivial according to a recent New York Times op-ed colum

Time To Delete Those Ancient Online Accounts

Recently, as many as 360 million MySpace accounts were offered for sale in a 33-gigabyte online dump.

Catfishing Apps and the Art of Fakery

There are a slew of new apps that allow users to “catfish” others b

Snapchat Is Preferred Teen Social Network

Research firm Piper Jaffray has polled 6,500 teens in the U.S.

Schools Using Snapchat to Communicate with Students

Despite having a bad reputation as being a tool for cyberbullies, Snapchat (the messaging app where the pictures and videos you send disappear after they are opened) is starting to find its way int

Facebook Slang Explanations

Good news for adults who don’t understand the latest slang kids are using on social media - Facebook will soon be offering a “

Textual Chemistry

“Textual chemistry” is now part of the dating scene throughout the world and comes from not only what you tex

Texting and American Girls

It probably comes as no surprise to any parent these days that social media is disrupting the lives of teenagers, but Nancy Jo Sales has a new book coming out called American Girls: Social Medi

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